plums

HOMEMADE PLUM KETCHUP

HOMEMADE PLUM KETCHUP

In the news today: Google offered to buy Impossible Foods for 300million dollars! I admit this was the first time I heard about Impossible Foods, a company that produces plant based meat and cheese products that imitate the real stuff. $300mil may be hard to say not to, but Impossible Foods have done just that. With Bill Gates and Tony Fadell (Google) as their investors they are not short of funds. The prediction is, Impossible Foods will become a multi billion company.

Why is this story important? It is a proof that the desire for plant based foods is on the increase. This trend is quite evident locally here in Bristol. Several new veggie places have opened recently, more and more restaurants and food establishments offer vegan choices. More of my friends are eager to tell me about them reducing their meat intake. Even if this means having just two veggie meals a week, it is a step in the right direction for their health, for the planet, for the animals.

People who are new to eating vegetarian or vegan tend to reach for the type of product Impossible Foods are producing. I myself don’t always have time to make everything from scratch so there are always Good Life nut burgers lurking in my freezer for a quick midweek meal.

If you are having veggie sausages, burger or indeed vegan cheese sandwich why not try these with my homemade plum ketchup. It is a cross between a chutney, ketchup and Chinese plum sauce (without all the added nasties). Easy and quick to make. I have a real hankering after a vegan sausage sandwich with a bit of vegan mayo and some plum ketchup….


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HOMEMADE PLUM KETCHUP
yield about 1 1/2 cups

ingredients
2 1/2 cups plums, very ripe, halved, stones removed,
1 small red onion
1 tsp fresh ginger, chopped
1 1/2 tsp apple pie spice (or 1/2 tsp ground ginger, 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon, 1/4 tsp ground cloves, 1/4 tsp all spice, pinch of nutmeg)
1/2 tsp Kashmiri chilli powder (or another chilli powder)
1/4 tsp crushed chilli flakes (optional)
80 ml water
1/4 tsp salt (or more to taste)
1-2 Tbs jaggery (depending on the sweetness of your plums)
2 Tbs sherry or red wine vinegar

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  • Put all your ingredients into a medium size sauce pan, bring to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer for 30 minutes. Taste and adjust sweetness, the amount of jaggery needed depends on the sweetness of your plums.
  • Place into a blender and blend till smooth. Alternatively pass through a fine sieve (this will yield less ketchup).
  • Pour into a clean (preferably sterilised) kilner (mason) jar. Cool and store in the refrigerator for about a week.
  • Serve with roasted tofu or tempeh, nut roasts, veggie sausages or burgers or in a vegan cheese sandwich.

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TOFU SKEWERS WITH CHINESE SPICED PLUM SAUCE

TOFU SKEWERS WITH CHINESE SPICED PLUM SAUCE

In an ideal world I would have a large garden, preferably a forrest garden, full of delicious fruits and veggies waiting to be picked and turned into delicious dishes. The reality is different. My garden is a postage stamp size and my dog’s second name could be “the destroyer”. Unfortunately I have a list of plants that have succumbed to his digging, chewing or just simple stomping upon...(he is rather large). There was a blueberry bush, golden currant bush, strawberry plants, raspberry canes.... At least the red currant, Audrey Hepburn rose and my plum tree have survived his advances so far. My poor rosemary plant had a close call the other day...

Last Sunday morning I woke up before the predicted torrential rains started. Armed with a plastic bowl and a dining room chair I embarked on my plum harvest. I do hope my neighbours were still asleep and didn’t see me in my pyjamas balancing on the chair with a bowl in one hand... It must have been a sight. But I managed to pick all the plums before the rain and wind...

Even though plums are delicious on their own but I though I should try making them into a chinese spiced plum sauce free of the usual MSG and additives. The sauce went really well with grilled tofu skewers. Use any purple plums you can get your hands on. With plums being in season at the moment I am sure local farm shops and markets will be selling them cheap.

plums

TOFU SKEWERS WITH CHINESE SPICED PLUM SAUCE

Serves 4, sauce yield -2 cups



ingredients
the plum sauce:
440g/1 lb plums
1 small onion or shallot, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 inch ginger, grated
1 tsp chinese spice
2 Tbs coconut palm sugar
1 Mejdol date, chopped
2 Tbs rice vinegar
160ml (2/3c) water
pinch salt
2 tsp tamari or other soya sauce
1/2 tsp toasted sesame oil (optional)

tofu skewers
500g (1lb 2 oz)
1 red pepper
4 small onions
half a pineapple

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method
  1. If using bamboo skewers, soak them first for at least 20min.
  2. To make the sauce put all the ingredients into a sauce pan and bring to a boil.
  3. Reduce the heat and simmer for about 20 min.
  4. Place the sauce into a blender and blend until smooth (take care when blending hot liquids - it could end up on the ceiling, I start with the lowest speed to prevent redecorating the kitchen)
  5. While the sauce is cooking, remove the tofu from its packaging and dry on some paper towels.
  6. Cut into large cubes. I had 24 pieces - 3 per skewer.
  7. Cut the pepper into large pieces. Quarter the onions. Cut off the pineapple skin and the core. Cut the pineapple into bite sized pieces.
  8. Thread the tofu, pepper, onion and pineapple onto skewers.
  9. Preheat the grill (broiler) and place the skewers under. Grill for about 5 min each side, or until the tofu, veggies and fruit start to caramelise.
  10. Serve with the sauce and some rice or noodles on the side.

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